Volunteer Forever expands offerings and focuses on responsible travel with new direct booking platform
Volunteer Forever, a WYSE Travel Confederation Elite Member, has launched a new platform enabling young travellers to directly book volunteer holidays, long-term service projects, degree-related internships, and even TEFL certification and teaching placements. The new product, Abroadly, aims to reach a wider range of Millennial and GenZ travellers. Abroadly already has more than 120 different programmes featured, with new ones added each week.
“We are streamlining the booking process for trips to volunteer, intern, and teach abroad. Travellers fill out a short application, pay a refundable deposit to reserve their spot on that trip, and hear directly from the programme provider within two business days,” Director of Partnerships, Sarah Vandenberg, told WYSE Travel Confederation.
Authenticity is central to the user experience
Abroadly offers travellers a more in-depth look at their prospective programmes and greater assurance of responsible travel. A Volunteer Forever representative will visit and gather first-hand knowledge of each Abroadly listed programme to ensure it meets their criteria in quality and sustainability.
“Being able to regularly visit and have a first-hand view of our partner programmes provides much better context than we would have as a standard directory,” explained Sarah. “Many of the initial partners we’re working with through Abroadly are WYSE members, and organisations we met at WYSTC. We do not promote any orphanage programmes, or other trips that may be problematic.”
Abroadly travellers can also get an immersive look at projects themselves with high quality photos and 360 video. Sarah said authenticity is the number-one goal for the Abroadly team. They want travellers to get a clear look at sites, housing, and attractions while they are determining if the programme is the right fit.
“Being able to accurately and personally convey the experience to our travellers, rather than repackaging pre-written project descriptions, not only gives a more in-depth perspective of the trip, but it also allows us to better support travellers who have questions about programmes they’re interested in.”
Fees are fully refunded if an applicant is not selected for the programme.
New financial model for travellers and organisation partners
Travellers who book through Abroadly are granted free access to the Volunteer Forever fundraising platform. Plus, exclusively through Abroadly, two USD $500 scholarships are awarded each quarter. The scholarships can be used for any of travel expense, such as the programme fee, transportation, visa costs, and gear.
For organisations that partner with Abroadly, the fee structure is a change from the Volunteer Forever model. Instead of paying for advertising clicks to their website, partner organisations pay a commission fee for each completed booking by Abroadly. Once the traveller completes their application and pays the deposit, the full application is handed off to the partner organisation. There is no fee for organisations to create project listings on the platform.
“Abroadly gives our partners the reach of Volunteer Forever and a booking experience that leverages the latest web and mobile technology and research in user experience, while allowing our partners to own the customer relationship,” explained Sarah.
Organisations interested in Abroadly are invited to request an invitation to join the platform. For a limited time, the Volunteer Forever team said they will do the hard work of onboarding and creating project listings. Interested organisations can email Sarah Vandenberg or use the Abroadly contact form. Learn more about Abroadly and the new partner programmes.